MANILA—Even in the face of death, environmentalist and philanthropist Gina Lopez found the time to prepare her family for what was to come.
This is according to her ex-husband Sona Roy, who like her spent years in social service.
“Before she left, she already discussed with us, life has to move on,” Roy told ABS-CBN during the first day of Lopez’s wake held at the ABS-CBN compound. “There’s always life beyond today.”
He said Lopez “made sure everything was secure” and told them that they must be ready for anything.
“She was the center of our family. She was also the center of the community,” he said, adding that it has been challenging for the family since Lopez passed away.
Roy said that Lopez talked to him and their children.
“For the last 3 months, everyday I was with the children to tell Gina, ‘Don’t worry I’m taking care of the children. They’re comfortable, they’re secure. Nothing to worry',” he said.
While family and friends made sure Lopez was “surrounded by love,” Roy said Lopez tried to continue working.
“She has a lot of desire to work. She says, ‘I want to work and work and work. My work is not finished yet',” Roy recalled.
At one point, he said he would see her schedule early morning meetings that went on for the whole day.
“Are you resting or you’re working? You’re working now more than before,” he told her.
Roy said they tried to convince Lopez to lessen her workload but instead she said, “God has put me in a place and I feel that I am responsible.”
Lopez was always known for her work protecting the environment and various vulnerable groups such as children. Before her passing, she was working on stories that affected farmers and indigenous peoples.
Despite her busy schedule, Roy said Lopez did not fail making their children feel prioritized.
“She always makes sure her children are well,” he said, adding that it was something that his children acknowledged while Lopez was at the hospital.
He recalled hearing one of their sons tell Lopez, “Mom, thanks for everything you had done for me in my life. I wish you have peace in heaven.”
“Because Gina was looking for heaven,” Roy said. “It’s a wonderful message.”
Roy said Lopez was a “great mother” and that his son told her before she passed away, “Mom, I cannot find another mother like you.”